How to live a miserable Christian life (conclusion)

15 08 2006

dj.jpgThis is the conclusion to the series here on How to live a miserable Christian life.

The goal has been to point out some things that commonly plague Christians in their walk with Jesus, while hoping to encourage a heart change leading to a life change that produces greater joy and more ascribed glory to God.

I have appreciated many of the encouraging words as result of this series, I do pray that it is helpful. As I mentioned in the outset these are posts that have been written to myself first and foremost with a desire to share “the love” with others.

So let’s look at the final two. I know that there are myriads of others, however, these have been some common ones that I have encountered.

9. Deny the Sovereignty of God

Not many Christians will deny that God is sovereign…cofessionally anyway. There are of course those who believe that God does not know the future or cannot control the future (open theists). I am not talking about this group here. Instead I am referring to those who affirm that God is in control (Ps.115.3) but then deny this theological truth with their life.

A common way that we do this is by worrying. Rarely do we find ourselves worrying about what has happened in the past (unless it is the present or future consequence of the action). Instead we worry about what will happen in the present and in the future.

Jesus diagnosis this problem by saying that it is due to a lack of faith and is a characteristic of unbelievers (Matt. 6.30-32). This really is the issue. When we are worrying about events or circumstances we are reacting with a faithless self-absorption that is upset because we have realized that we are not sovereign. And to make matters worse, we just marinate in this posture of anxiety, refusing to trust and depend upon the God who is sovereign and good.

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How to live a miserable Christian life (part iii)

11 08 2006

Here is part 3 of the the look at how to live a miserable Christian life. The goal here is obviously not to be miserable but to be filled with heavenly joy by being good stewards of all that Christ has given us. The first 2 post may be found here (part 1) and here (part 2).

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6. Resist Biblical Correction

It is interesting the way God has done things. He has saved sinners and then commanded them to work out their salvation (Phil. 2.12). We are to be progressively growing into the likeness of our Master. This obviously implies a current state of practical imperfection.

God has been pleased to give his saints the word of God to be learned and applied, specifically within the context of the church of God. We are to practicing the “one-anothers” that are commanded (love, serve, encourage, admonish, etc..). This practice serves to chip away fleshy barnacles and mold Christ likeness in accordance with his word.

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How to live a miserable Christian life (part ii)

10 08 2006

Yesterday I began a look at how to live a miserable Christian life. Specifically to look at 10 sure fire areas or activities that are counter Christian and so therefore devoid of joy.

In the first post we highlighted the dangers of 1) trying to repay Jesus for the Cross, 2) neglecting the Bible, 3) neglecting Prayer.

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Let’s pick it up here in view of highlighting pitfalls for Christians that we might not find ourselves miserably caught in the mire.

4. Be Selfish

This is really the seed for everything. I have heard a good friend describe sin as the deification of man and the ‘mannification’ of God. It is to flip the roles. For the Christian to be selfish or self consumed is really counter intuitive. It just doesn’t make sense.

It reminds me of the time I saw Vlade Divac (former Lakers’ center) smoking cigerattes before a game. I’m thinking, this is totally contradictory and inhibitive to what the guy is about to go do…he is about to go and run up and down the court for two hours and he is choking down these cancer sticks like they are made out of protein or something.

In a similar vein, selfishness for the Christian is absurd. The whole point of Christianity is humility. We come to God in humility, confessing our prideful rebellion against him, begging humbly for grace (not earned!!) that we might be given mercy to trust him for forgiveness. Then the whole outflow of the Christian life is to stream from this humble spicket of a biblical self awareness.

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How to live a miserable Christian life (part i)

9 08 2006

There is truly nothing that brings more joy to the human heart than to know and live in the reality of being forgiven in Christ and enjoy the delicious fruit of grace. Sadly many struggle with living in this joy as a characteristic of their lives. Instead many settle for sub-glorious moments, hours, days and eventually lives as followers of joy incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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What follows is my humble attempt to serve you. In the next three days I want to outline 10 ways that you can live a miserable Christian life. Perhaps you can identify with some of these.

I have written these to myself first and foremost and desire to share with you. My prayer would be that you would inspect your life, heart and motives for unsuspecting parasites that serve to suck out your joy in Christ that you might pluck them out and hopefully be edified together with me.

1. Try to Repay Jesus for the Cross

The sure-fire way to short circuit joy in Christ is to undervalue him and overvalue yourself. It is really a subtle shift into idolatry. Instead of living your life in complete dependence upon and appreciation to Jesus for everything you have, you find yourself depending upon yourself to repay the glorious gift of salvation and life. What could be more frustrating than this?

This takes the form of practicing disciplines of grace (Bible reading, prayer, meditation, etc…) for the purpose of repaying Jesus. In this posture you see these post-salvation works as somehow meritorious to diminish the eternal debt that was born by the Savior. I don’t know about you but for me the reality of the debt that was born by Jesus compels even more hearty praise and appreciation.

Do you see the offensive shavings of idolatry here? You end up saying that Jesus gave you a good spiritual boost to your feet and now you’ll take it from here. It sounds like an evangelical hybrid with Rome. Instead we need to realize that it is grace that saves sinners, it is grace that sanctifies sinners, it is grace that keeps sinners, and it is grace that will ultimately present sinners as blameless before the throne of God. Our constant dependence upon the grace that is ours in Jesus reminds us of his richness and our neediness; this reality brings joy and intensifies our appreciation of the cross of Jesus. For the sacrifice of the Son of God was never intended to be offensively repaid but rather it is to be valued for its supremacy and efficacy.

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